Why Circus Circus Is So Cheap: Everything You Need To Know

Whenever I compare hotel prices in Las Vegas, Circus Circus always comes up as the cheapest option on the strip. But if you actually take a look at the reviews online, the hotel scores way below average.

And that begs the question, why is Circus Circus so cheap? Is it actually a decent resort? I decided to stay at the hotel and find out.

Circus Circus is cheap because it’s one of the oldest hotels on the Las Vegas strip. The rooms are outdated and lack the amenities offered by the top Las Vegas resorts. Circus Circus is also isolated on the north end of the strip, far away from most of the other casinos.

Although Circus Circus is outdated compared to many of the other Las Vegas resorts, there’s no denying it offers the best prices. Let’s take a deeper look at why Circus Circus is so cheap, and whether or not it’s worth booking a room.

What Makes Circus Circus So Cheap

Before I get into my experience with Circus Circus, I’d first like to point out the difference between the actual resort and the Manor Motor Lodge.

The rooms you see online for under $20 are for the Circus Circus Manor Motor Lodge, which is located behind the casino resort. The Manor Motor Lodge is bunch of 3-story motel buildings that were bought by Circus Circus a few years ago. It’s about a 10 minute walk away from the casino, which is connected by a sky-bridge.

These are the rooms where you see a bunch of poor reviews. I’m not going to get into how bad these rooms are (you can find plenty of complaints online) but instead I’m going to focus on the rooms that are located in the main building. My advice is to just avoid the Circus Circus Manor Motor Lodge all together.

The main resort is actually a decent hotel. Yes, it’s a little dated, but for $40 a night you kind of have to expect that. Overall, I recommend staying at the main resort (West Tower, Skyrise Tower and Casino Tower rooms) if you’re on a tight budget. There are just a few things that you’ll want to be aware of:

  • There’s a $32 mandatory daily resort fee
  • Circus Circus is located far away from the action
  • Rooms are very basic (small, no refrigerator, no minibar)
  • Furniture in the rooms is older
  • The walls are thin (not very soundproof)
  • Mild cleanliness issues are common throughout the resort
  • Lot’s of families stay at the hotel
  • Casino floor smells musky (smokers)

Circus Circus Is More Expensive Than It Seems

Nightly rates for $30 or $40 a night are extremely deceptive. The base rate for a room may be $40, but Circus Circus charges an additional daily resort fee of $32. Resort fees cover amenities like Wi-Fi, pools and gym access, but you’re required to pay them even if you don’t use the amenities.

Resort fees are misleading because they aren’t charged when you initially book your room. They are charged when you check out of the hotel. And there is no way to avoid paying them.

So to give you an example, a $40 room is actually going to cost you $80 a night once you factor in the resort fee and applicable taxes.

Base Rate$40
Daily Resort Fee$32
Taxes$8
Total (per night)$80

Circus Circus isn’t the only hotel that charges a resort fee. In fact, the vast majority of Las Vegas resorts do the same thing. It’s just something to be aware of when you book. The room may look super cheap, but you always end up paying more than the advertised rate.

With all that being said, resort fees shouldn’t be a reason to avoid Circus Circus. Even with the $32 daily resort fee, it’s still the cheapest hotel on the strip.

Circus Circus Is Dated Compared To Other Hotels

Circus Circus is one of the oldest properties on the strip. They have done some small renovations, but it’s clear the hotel isn’t as modern as its competitors.

The rooms are a bit small and lack basic amenities like a refrigerator, and clothes hangers (although there is a closet). The furniture in some of the rooms is a bit worn, you’ll notice some scratches the draws and table stands.

The walls are also very thin, so if you have a loud or annoying neighbor you may run into some issues. But the rooms do have:

  • A desk
  • Hair dryer
  • Safe
  • Air-conditioning
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Decent mattresses

As far as the resort goes you obviously have the casino, but you also have a pool, fitness center, hair salon, carnival and adventure dome (I’ll talk about this more later). Circus Circus does not have a spa.

While the resort does have a few restaurants, I find the choices to be limited compared to other hotels. Shopping options are a bit confined too. There are a ton a gifts shops, but few traditional retail stores.

Circus Circus Doesn’t Have The Best Location

If you want to visit another casino on the strip, you’re probably and going to need to take a cab (or Uber/Lyft). Circus Circus is located on the north end of the strip between the Wynn and the Strat. It’s a 15 minute walk to the nearest hotel (Wynn) and a 30 minute walk to the center of the strip, so most people aren’t going to want to walk.

If you just plan on staying at Circus Circus for your entire trip, then this isn’t a problem. But if you want to check out other casinos, staying at Circus Circus is almost like staying off of the strip. It’s that far away from the action.

Circus Circus Has Some Cleanliness Issues

Circus Circus as a whole has a reputation for having cleanliness issues. This includes the dirty windows in many of the hotel rooms and the musky smell on the casino floor.

The issue is much worse in the Manor Motor Lodge than in the actual resort, but it’s still worth mentioning. In my experience, the hotel wasn’t dirty enough to for me to say it’s a dump, but it’s noticeable. Out of all the casinos on the strip, I would say Circus Circus would benefit the most from a deep cleaning.

Benefits Of Staying At Circus Circus

With all the issues that Circus Circus has, there are still some benefits to staying here. They include:

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free self-parking
  • Cheap nightly rates
  • Great for families

Besides the cheap rates, you also get free parking and free Wi-Fi at the hotel (although you can argue you pay for those with your resort fee). Circus Circus is also the most family friendly hotel on the strip. There are a ton of things for kids to go including:

  • Free circus acts
  • Carnival games
  • Splash Zone Pool
  • Adventuredome (pictured below)

There are about a dozen different free circus acts, which start around 11:30 am and go until midnight. The performances range from trapeze tricks and gymnastics, to clowns and juggling acts.

The Midway Carnival has over 200 of the most popular carnival games, where you can win prizes. Most games cost a dollar or less.

The Splash Zone has a water playground, huge slides and whirlpools. If you’re staying at Circus Circus you get 4 free passes per room. You can buy more at the desk if you need them.

The Adventuredome has a bunch of theme park rides like roller coasters, carousels, mini-golf and a 4D theater. A day pass costs $40 for adults and $20 for kids.

Should You Stay At Circus Circus?

I would recommend Circus Circus to anyone who is on a budget, or is bringing kids with them to Las Vegas. If you’re looking for a luxury vacation, Circus Circus is not the hotel you should be staying at. Although, if you’re just sleeping in the room and doing other activities during the day, Circus Circus is a suitable option.

The hotel has a lot of mixed review online. But if you stay at the main resort and avoid the Manor Motor Lodge, you’ll enjoy your time a Circus Circus.

Related Questions

How much does a Las Vegas trip cost? The average person is going to spend about $250 a day in Las Vegas. If you stay at a budget hotel like Circus Circus, you can could get that down to $150 a day. I wrote another post breaking down all the costs you should expect in Las Vegas here.

When is the cheapest time to visit Las Vegas? The cheapest time to visit Las Vegas is in December (right before New Years) and January (right after New Years). You can get good deals during the summer too. I wrote a more in-depth post on the cheapest month to visit Las Vegas here.

How much do nightclubs cost in Las Vegas? You can get into all Las Vegas nightclubs for free on the guest list. Groups of women get free entry at all clubs. Men with an even ratio of women in their group (or a greater number of women than me) can also get free entry on the guest list.